The Darts are back in action this weekend chasing their first away win of the season against fifth place Concord Rangers.
Tony Burman will remain in the hot seat as interim manager, until the club find a suitable candidate to replace previous joint managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle. Last weekend, Burman began his stint in charge in defeat as seven goals were shared with newly promoted Dorking Wanderers.
Angonisingly the final six minutes at Princes Park proved pivotal as the Darts tried to hold on to a crucial lead. Two changes were made to the starting elevn after the 3-2 loss at Tonbridge Angels, Charlie Sheringham replaced Norma Wabo to start with striker Adam Cunnington for the first time and Jordan Wynter returned to the line up with loanee Rob Howard stepping aside. Although the Darts started brightly, the visitors were in front after 12 minutes when Niall McManus hit a brilliant long range effort beyond Mark Smith. Dartford went ahead with Ben Greenhalgh’s quick fire brace, his first goals of the campaign. However, in first half stoppage time Dartford conceded a penalty and former Dart, Jason Prior equalised.
The second half had more goals in store, Ryan Hayes and Luke Allen combined well before Hayes put in a delightful cross for Sheringham to score. In the closing stages during a six minute spell the match turned dramatically, former Woking striker Guiseppe Sole levelled with a brilliant free-kick, Lee Noble was harshly sent off and with two minutes on the clock James McShane grabbed Dorking Wanderers a winner.
Burman praised his side work ethic, he spoke to www.kentonline.co.uk and said: “I was delighted with the effort the players put in”, before questioning some important decisions from the match officials, he added: “The penalty decision against us I can say is a poor goal in respect of the way we defended. Was it a penalty? I honestly don’t think it was”, he continued: “No-one thought it was a sending-off other than their bench. I wouldn’t say they got him sent-off but their reaction wasn’t good and it shouldn’t be like that. It was a poor decision”. Aside from getting the rub of the green, Burman also pinpointed where the Darts can improve, he exclaimed: “I have to question a few of them who haven’t played. I thought the fitness was down from what it should be. That’s no disrespect to anybody, I’m just giving an honest opinion”.
Around the club there has been plenty of focus off the pitch including the role Burman has with the first team, he commented: “The long-term is not for me”, he added: “I am happy with what I do at the club in the academy during the daytime and that’s my goal now”. Whoever the successful applicant is in however long it takes to find the right boss, they will need to strengthen a defence that has conceded the most goals in the division. In contrast to the previous season at least the Darts are starting to put the ball in the oppositions net with more frequency, scoring five in their last two defeats.
Burman was pleased with Sheringham’s performance last weekend and Greenhalgh made it in the National South’s team of the week. Luke Wanadio was out injured, Sam Blackman is starting to do fitness work and Mark Onyemah is getting closer to a return. Adam Cunnington is banned for one game after picking up too many cautions and Lee Noble starts a three match suspension after his red card.
Concord Rangers have started their campaign brightly building on their success last term under Sammy Moore. The Beachboys reached the playoff places but were unable to participate due to league rules. Moore left in the summer and his replacement Danny Scopes has kept the momentum going. The Essex club won their opening three matches to top the table, but then suffered three defeats in four picking up a single point. Concord Rangers have recovered since are currently unbeaten in their last three matches beating Welling United and Hampton and Richmond Borough either side of a draw against local rivals Braintree Town.
In their last two games the Essex club have scored vital late goals, Marcel Barrington scored a brace to help his side win 3-2 last weekend. Barrington was in the Braintree Town side along with Dartford’s Josh Hill, Billy Crook and Luke Allen that beat the Darts in the playoffs just over a year ago. After the victory, defender Joe Claridge commented via the club’s Twitter account: “It’s a great three points…it wasn’t ideal going behind but it shows the character of this set of players, even though we were 2-1 down the management team still believed we could get three points”, he continued: “We are ten games in and in a good place, not only looking at the table and on the pitch, but as a team”.
Billy Roast will return to Princes Park, the defender made seven appearances for the Darts last term after he followed Adam Flanagan from the Beachboys to Dartford, but this summer he made his return to Concord Rangers via Maldon and Tiptree. Roast was in the Dartford team that lost to Concord Rangers last term, whilst Ryan Hayes was lining up against the Darts alongside Sam Blackman. The Beachboys won 2-0 with former Dart, Alex Wall scoring as well as D’Sean Theobalds. The return fixture ended 1-1 at Princes Park with former Concord Rangers midfielder, Greenhalgh opening the scoring and Jack Midson equalising from the spot.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 4 / Concord Rangers wins: 2 / Draws: 3
Current League Form
|Dartford (LLDDWL)||Concord Rangers (WDWLLD)|
|Dorking Wanderers||H||3-4||Hampton & Richmond||H||3-2|
|Tonbridge Angels||A||2-3||Braintree Town||A||2-2|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||H||1-1||Welling United||H||3-0|
|Hungerford Town||A||2-2||St Albans City||A||1-2|
|Braintree Town||H||2-1||Maidstone United||H||0-1|
Last Six Meetings
For the first time, last season Dartford failed to beat Concord Rangers in at least one of their league games against them.
Concord Rangers are unbeaten in their last three games against Dartford, their longest unbeaten run versus the Darts.
Dartford have picked up one point out of their last nine away games, drawing one and losing eight going back to March last season.
In nine of Dartford’s ten games this season both teams have scored, the exception being on the opening day at Wealdstone.
On This Day
Louis Moult scored a brace to defeat Dartford six years ago at Princes Park, the striker’s double helped Nuneaton Town to a 2-1 victory in the National League, Elliot Bradbrook scoring a consolation for the Darts. In 2003, Dartford progressed in the F.A Cup with a 3-0 home victory over Peacehaven and Telscombe, the Darts went out in the next round against Bromley. A home friendly at Summer’s Meadow, Lowfield Street versus Pickwicks way back in 1895 saw Dartford rack up ten goals without reply on this day.